Body Signals Lost

30 Mar

There are some days when it feels like my body is struggling to keep up with me. I don’t trust it. I don’t like that it aches and sighs still. I want to yell at it that I have given it everything needs these last few months to be normal and heal, what more can I do? Wasn’t that the point of recovery and of refeeding? To make my body healthy so that I can go about my days without having to pause and catch my breath. I never considered that it might not be enough, that even weight restoration might not make my body forgive me completely for all that I have done to it. If I was in a better frame of mind I would use this as motivation to say “Ok, it’s not there yet but I’m going to keep going and sooner or later it will be fine. I’m going to keep going because clearly the balance that it needs has still not been restored”. However I am not in the best frame of mind these days and me attempting to cling on to recovery and continuously being frustrated by my body makes me want to say “Screw it then, if what I was trying to achieve still hasn’t happened then what’s the point? What is the point of putting myself through this constant mental battle to not get the one thing (healthy body) that made me enter treatment in the first place!”. I am edging closer to the point where I alienate my body again because at least when I was destroying it, I was expecting it to hurt. If I couldn’t catch my breath, if my heart palpitated or my muscles ached or my joints screamed then at least I knew it was because I was living in a starved mode. I could rationalise it. I understood it.

I don’t understand this. I don’t know what my body is trying to tell me. I have this feeling that something is wrong but I can’t put my finger on what that thing is. I know that part of it will always be my fault. I get damaged far too easily purely because I am accident prone. I tend to just do stupid things but the consequences never seem to be straightforward. I feel like I have screwed up and all the signals that my body tries to give me now for either illness or injury get lost and or I can’t interpret them anymore because I am so used to suppressing everything. Do I count this as another repercussion of my Eating Disorder? The list continues to keep on growing. It is times such as this when I hate that I ever engaged in the first place and it’s hard to remind myself that I did not choose this life. I did not choose an Eating Disorder. It is beyond difficult to let myself believe that it isn’t my fault. I campaign to challenge those judgements and yet I am the most judgemental person of all when it comes to myself.

So for now I wait and hope that this passes and that this off feeling I have begins to lessen.

I hope your day is good to you.


25 Mar

This week was the Anniversary of my Aunts death. It’s always a hard week…remembering her, remembering how we all began to fracture after she was gone. You see she was the other side of my Mum and without her the balance of our family was thrown off. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if she’d have lived. Would everything have gone down the way it did? Would we all be a little less broken? She was a good person and completely about living in the moment. Broken hearts, hard done by parents, lost, confused…these were her departments. She died so suddenly and I didn’t know how to process it, none of us did. How could a person be so present one moment and then dying from a brain haemorrhage the next? It’s one of those things that you don’t think will ever happen to your family but then it does and whatever little trust you had in the world begins to diminish. How are you supposed to believe that the universe won’t hurt you when it does something like that?

I miss her.

They say that time heals these things, that grief eventually subsides. It doesn’t. Not really. You begin to remember how to breathe again and you figure out how to get through the days without shattering but that missing someone feeling doesn’t ever lessen. It’s been 12 years and there are days when I want to cry because I can’t remember the sound of her voice the way I once I could. I look at my little brother who wasn’t quite two years old when she died and I feel sad for him that he will never have the chance to know her. I think sometimes I am trying to be for him what she was to us. A safe place, an escape, a patient ear and a love that was unquestionable. When I think like that, my mind does travel to my Eating Disorder. I think of how I came close to not being here anymore myself and I wonder if I could put my brother through that. To have his faith in the world destroyed so young. I wonder if he would have the same questions in the next decade about what would have happened if I’d have lived. He would have to live with a family who were broken further by my absence and I don’t want to imagine that future for him. I don’t want him to feel even a little bit of loss just yet. He is growing up but he is still a kid and a kid who has already been through so much. So I suppose on the days that I don’t want to do recovery for me then I must do it for him. I must choose life for him.

I hope your day has been kind to you.


21 Mar

I want to talk to you about Relapse today…don’t panic though it’s not because I am in the midst of one, although I still don’t know how I define where I am in the scheme of my Eating Disorder. Relapse is one of those things that scares me more than I like to admit. When I talk about the prospect of it out loud, I tell the people around me that it’ll just be one of those things. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. Yet despite how many times I have dismantled myself, it still terrifies me. Partly I think because I know how quickly it can happen and how within the space of a few weeks (if not less) you can find yourself back at square one trying to figure out how to eat a slice of bread. For me, it’s worse than when I initially became unwell because there is insight this time. There is the knowledge of how much it hurts physically and emotionally to come back from a damaged body, and I use that word damaged in it’s every possible implication, that’s mentally, spiritually, physically, socially…basically all the allys. There is an awareness to an extent. You’ve watched before as this illness has ravaged both yourself and your family. You know that it’s going to impact everyone yet this time it seems worse because you gave them hope that it was all over and you are well but as soon as they think they can breathe again, it turns out they can’t because they are witnessing you start the process of killing yourself all over again. They also know, just as you do that this is not some little diet gone too far or a phase that’s gotten out of hand, which is possibly what everyone (including you) was saying the first time round.

When I first became unwell, I didn’t realise how fully it was going to turn everything upside down. In the beginning I convinced myself that I was not going to suffer any consequences. I refused to believe that I was ill. I refused to consider the idea that I may have let things get out of control. Despite how long I had been living with an Eating Disorder, the reality didn’t hit until the first time I went into treatment. I was heading into the unknown that first time but I think everyone around me was hopeful that some actual treatment would fix me. We were all lying to ourselves. It’s easy to do that the first time round. There is nothing like an attempt at recovery to bring out the brutality of an Eating Disorder which is why even when you think that you have a grip on it, it’s still there creeping underneath waiting for your defences to drop. That’s when you relapse and that’s also when you start to begin to hear your lies. This isn’t a minor issue. This isn’t going to just go away. Relapse is a double blow, not only do you have to have that voice of the eating disorder raging in your mind but you also have your own inner dialogue telling you how much of a failure you are now. Physically it’s also worse. It takes less time and weight loss to throw your body out of whack. The stress of changing your shape and size takes more of a toll, you confuse your body, you don’t let it be able to trust you. You don’t even have a healthy starting baseline anymore because even if you have weight restored, your body remembers the damage for some time afterwards. It’s not as quick to forgive as you might want to believe. Reaching a healthy number does not mean that you are internally completely healed.

I think what scares me the most about Relapse is that when I am in one I feel breakable, like someone could blow on me and I would scatter into a million pieces. I feel like I am watching a disaster scene in slow motion with morbid fascination and I can’t runaway. I can’t close my eyes to it. It scares me because it always feels like I have a limited amount of times I can rebuild myself and eventually there is a belief that I will run out of resources to do so.

Yet I haven’t figured out how to stop a relapse from happening. All I do know is that for now the idea of having to refeed for a fourth time is what stops me from thinking it would be a good idea to just let go and give up. I may not know how to keep myself well yet for an extended period of time but the fear of Relapse, of putting myself through such a shit and dark time again knowing full well that the outcome will never change is something that I’m going to have to go with.

Your Eating Disorder will not change it’s game plan. I don’t care if it’s the second or the tenth time round, the sooner you realise that, the sooner you accept that every time you give in it will hurt you and not save you then maybe that’s how you stop a relapse. That’s what I am still trying to understand.

I hope your day is kind to you.

Live or Die?

17 Mar

For the last few weeks it feels like all I have done is come to this space and complain. I think I may have lost sight of why I created this blog, what I was hoping to achieve and through that I have also lost my own reasons for recovery. I have allowed myself to be swallowed up by the days, by my hate and by my sadness. I am not proud of those things. I am not exactly happy that however many years down the line, I find myself still gripped by or clinging to the Eating Disorder. It is a soul sucking illness and the ways that it can try to break you are limitless. It makes you tear yourself apart and you have to kind of be amazed of it’s methods as a disorder, I mean it doesn’t just destroy you…it gets in to your head and then sits back whilst you do the work and dismantle yourself. It works in opposition in some ways to the rest of society. The world tells us that to be happy, to be ok, to be liked…to be anything then we need to add more. We need to buy more stuff, learn more, fill our schedules with more. We are a generation of excess who live with the belief that who we are and what we are is never enough. We can always strive for better. Anorexia tells us something different. To achieve those same states of happiness, ok-ness, likeability then we have to be less. We have to reduce or minimise or quieten ourselves if we ever dream of reaching those things. The weight loss which is often a symptom of an Eating Disorder is only one outcome. We also have to lose our friends, our dreams, our aspirations and then we get the consequences of our losses. We begin to lose our intellect, our cognitive abilities, our physical strength, our autonomy, choice, freedom and then far too frequently our lives. We all know that death is a real outcome of these disorders but I think it’s often forgotten that prior to that, there are many who have been dying by degrees for years.

So when do we say enough is enough?

Clearly we can see that an Eating Disorder is essentially one big lie. Although we may be able to twist our logic to it, if there was truth in the things that it tells us then we would reach the day in which we would be able to stop. We could decide to just walk away or we’d find that elusive happy and it would be unnecessary to continue. Yet all I have found is myself moving further way from being ok and the deeper I got in, the more I hurt which made me want to take away more and be less. All I ever wanted was peace of mind but as my brain reached a state of starvation, it became more frantic and desperate. I have said this before and I will say it again now. An Eating Disorder is incompatible with life. You can’t have both and expect there to ever be a good outcome. I’m still trying to learn that. I’m still trying to mould my thinking into understanding that despite what the world tells us that we are capable of having everything, it isn’t true. We can’t actively participate in our death and claim to want to live. It’s just one big contradiction.

I’m going to ask you to take a moment and really think about your belief system. What are you hoping that your Eating Disorder will help you achieve? What lies has it been telling you? Recognise them for what they are and move on. You want love? safety? a feeling of being an ok and valid human being you do, if you think starving yourself is going to get you those things then I’m going to tell you that you’re wrong. I chose Recovery because I was tired. I chose it because killing myself wasn’t all that I wanted anymore and I knew that as long as I continued to be engaged in the disorder than that was what was going to happen. I suppose then that’s what it comes down to on those days that I doubt recovery or I don’t want it…the simple question of: Do I want to live or die? and if so how do I want to live?

I hope your day is kind to you.

Doubting It

13 Mar

It has been crossing my mind lately to let go of my anonymity on here. It feels like I am having to censor myself to some degree because I don’t want to be stumbled upon by someone who might know me and yet it doesn’t feel true to me, hiding this way. There are some days where I wish I could just give the people who are supposed to be helping me a link to this blog and say this is where I am. This is what I’m thinking. Yet I can’t bring myself to. I don’t think I’ve had an honest conversation with someone in a few weeks now. I keep telling them I’m fine even when I sit there unable to stop the tears. I’m not even properly crying! It’s ridiculous. One of my nurses came to see me the other day and all she could say to me was that I looked so sad but that it will get better. Everyone keeps saying how I’ll get through this, or that they’re proud of me and I want to scream at them to be quiet. I don’t want them to be proud because I don’t want recovery. I don’t want to hate myself this much even though I know going back will probably make me hate myself even more…

What are you left with when you want neither the sickness nor the cure? When you don’t think the ‘recovered’ bit will ever come?

You want to hear what’s messed up though? My intake hasn’t been exactly great (It’s not been terrible) and yet I am maintaining my weight. Suddenly there is this panic that I have forgotten how to make myself less, or that I have been foolish to believe that I needed as much as what everyone thought I did. Clearly I don’t. Am I making excuses so I don’t I have to challenge myself? Is that all I’m doing here, letting the Anorexia get into my head and twist my thinking so far backwards that I don’t even know what is true anymore?

I’m so scared that this is my life and it isn’t enough for me. Being in this in-between state is not ok. I don’t want to be this person and it’s breaking my heart that I am. I feel so alone.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

Little Body Rant

7 Mar

I have been so distant lately. Here…in my life…in my treatment. It’s like there is this glass barrier blocking me but I don’t know what it’s about. I don’t know why I don’t have the power to smash it to pieces and get it out of my way. All I know is that it makes me feel desperate and the only thing I can think to do is go back. I keep telling myself that it was easier when my weight was lower. I was happier. I don’t feel so twisted up inside all of the time. I could get dressed without wanting to have a meltdown most days. Something tells me though that I am making a little bit of that up because if it had of been true, why did I start recovery in the first place? Why did I put myself through all that I have if it wasn’t that terrible? Those are the questions that I don’t want to think about but it’s clear that I’m not supposed to ignore them. Maybe they are my self-preservation thoughts…maybe they are the ones that are keeping me alive right now. Everyday I tell myself that it’s possible I could lose just a little weight. I’m a little over my target. It wouldn’t be disastrous. Yet I don’t think I would be able to stop. Isn’t that part of the problem? That we don’t know when enough is enough and we think we can keep removing more of ourselves until we’re dying. I hate that I know that. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin for once and it’s not happening, no matter how much I try to convince myself that it’s fine. It’s not fine.

Cue mini rant.

My Mum and Sister keep saying it’s good that I have shape now. I get weight jokes from people who don’t know better. None of my clothes look right on me and I don’t feel nice in anything. My boobs hurt all the time. I don’t know what to do with them. It is a genuine issue. I’ve always had large breasts from pretty early on and they are always the last place I lose weight and the first place I gain but my skin and muscle is not used to them being this size again and it’s uncomfortable. There is a lot of general self loathing right now which goes beyond my weight. Suddenly my hair is wrong and unmanageable, my skin keeps breaking out in spots. I feel like I’m 15 again! I’m far too old for this shit now. This is why it is advisable to probably not turn to an Eating Disorder in the first place. There will never be a good outcome and yet even as I type those words I find myself trying to hear myself yet having my mind wanting to make myself less.

This cycle is exhausting.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

A truth rather than idea

1 Mar

I did something stupid this morning and weighed myself. It shouldn’t matter what the number says but it did and it hurt. Automatically the Anorexic voice started to kick in and it was like it had me pinned in a moment where all I could feel was how much I hated myself and that I had to change something. It’s probably the first time since treatment that I have felt it this strongly running through me and this time it was harder to fight because I had no one there telling me I still had to eat. It was something I was going to have to do myself. More than anything I wanted to go back to bed and just hide there till it stopped but I had plans to see a friend, have lunch and buy a new dress for a TV piece that I’m doing on Tuesday. All challenging on the best of days so doubly hard today. Yet I got myself dressed and ate my breakfast and went and met my friend. I can’t let this disorder strip anything else from me and so I did the things that I did not want to do. We had lunch. I bought a dress. I smiled even though I wanted to scream. It was difficult to not restrict today, to not revert back to something that felt familiar and safe. For the most part I didn’t…For the most I stuck to my meal plan and as people keep telling me I have to trust in that plan. I keep trying to do this whole recovery thing in the hope that one day it will feel normal but I don’t know how long that’s going to take and I am so worried that I am going to relapse before I even experience what that feels like. I need to be able to see that all this is worth something, that all this pain that I have been in and currently am in will be worth it. Recovery will be worth the tears, exhaustion and despair that the process causes. I wish I could see that as a truth and not just some abstract idea.

I miss the idea of it

28 Feb

It feels like everyone I know is shrinking. I run into people I haven’t seen in a while and they are smaller or on some kind of diet or talking about their weight loss. It’s hard not to find it triggering or throw a full-scale tantrum that they are losing weight and I don’t get to anymore. It’s not like someone else even made that decision for me, maintaining is my choice just as reaching a healthy weight was. Yet there are days that I doubt whether I made the right one. Most days I think about going back even though I know that it will never feel or look like I want it to. It’s hard to stay here when it makes me feel so uncomfortable. My nurse came to see me yesterday and we talked a little about what I wanted, she asked me If I was in the headspace of wanting and actively trying to lose weight. I’m not. I can’t remember what I said to her but it was about the reality of the situation, that I have been through the cycle of losing weight and regaining enough times and that I am tired of it. The only place it ever got me was an inpatient bed and I’m not keen on repeating that experience again. Why it is so hard though? To know what you want in the grand scheme of things but think all the little steps leading up to it are wrong. Will eating ever feel ok? Will I ever stop measuring my worth and my level of self-hatred based on a number or the size of my body? Will I ever wake up in the morning and not have to fight the tears because I can’t bear who or what I’ve become? I don’t miss Anorexia. I don’t miss starving myself. I don’t miss how physically horrendous I felt all the time. What I do miss though and what I think I am grieving for is this idea that I had for so long, which was that this disorder was the answer. This was going to make me become a person I was ok with. I miss believing that by simply changing my body, I could change me internally. I miss an idea that wasn’t even real.

Definitely one of the harder days in recovery.
I hope your day has been kind to you though.

Chain of Thoughts

25 Feb

Do you ever find that when it comes to your Eating Disorder you feel like you’re splitting? One minute you can be this totally calm and rational person and then the next you believe all sorts of nonsense. When I am in between meals or at the end of the day when I have eaten all that I need to, it is easier for me to see that me thinking something terrible will happen because of food is kind of ridiculous. Yet in the lead up, in the moment and for about an hour afterwards, there is not a second where I feel calm. It’s like I’m waiting for something bad to happen so I can say “See!!! I was right. I can’t eat. I told you!”. What is it about this disorder which reduces me to thinking like a child who cannot be reasoned with? This disorder is so much about survival but I am not talking about mine. It’s about the disorder surviving when you decide to fight back. I know that it has altered my thinking over the years in an attempt to keep a hold of me. When one theory I had was disproved, it grasped on to another and that process kept repeating. Now I have the imprints left of those thoughts but don’t quite believe them enough for them to make me back away completely. Is this the best that I can hope for? Living with scar like reminders. I really hope not. It hurts me to acknowledge the idea that I want more than that…it’s not something that I usually do or at least not fully. I have always felt that if you let yourself be open to that, then if it doesn’t work out it is much more painful. I wonder though now, how much of that unwillingness to accept that I want more has fuelled how strongly Anorexia has managed to keep hold of me. Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong and my attempt at protecting myself by lowering my expectations has not really protected me at all.

I Suppose that’s probably something I should think about.

It has been quite hard these last couple of weeks. I haven’t really seen anyone in my care team since my discharge so I have all these thoughts and questions bouncing around in my head and I have no one to take them to, so they are growing. The only time I can be fine is when I’m working. Even that’s a challenge at the moment because I saw something which then triggered a memory, which created a thought, which made me question my work and now it’s making me feel not very pleasant. I’ve seen it grow and know that if I don’t get a grip on it soon, it will continue to change again in to something else.

I think I’m driving myself up the wall.
Sorry for just throwing some random thoughts at you.

I hope your day has been kind to you.

I don’t know how I am

24 Feb

I can’t quite believe that I’ve left it this long between posts. Things have been in some ways moving quicker since my discharge although I don’t know how much of that is my need to stay busy and making up things for myself to do and how much of it is actually necessary. It feels like I have missed out on so much and now I have to cram it all in as soon as possible. Logically I know that there isn’t a rush but it feels like I’ve wasted too much time to wait around anymore. I have a lot of appointments during the week (although they haven’t started really yet) and I suppose that’s a good thing. There are people there for me should things fall apart so that hopefully things don’t get as bad as they were again. I’m not sure I could do another round of losing weight and then going through the process of re-feeding. This time hurt too much. It broke something in me that I didn’t think was left to break.

People keep asking me how I am though and too often I am trying to find words for something that I can’t explain. I have this emptiness inside of me which no matter what I do, it doesn’t seem to ease. I want to be ok but most of the time I’m not. Part of me I think is still waiting for the day that all this stop, living in general stops being a fight. I am doubtful of whether that day will ever come and when I think like that it all feels so hopeless. Don’t get me wrong I am not spending my days hiding in tears or willing my body to give up. In a way it’s like I’m just here…potentially waiting for something.

Since I left food has stayed a struggle. In the first few days things were starting to slip left, right and centre and I panicked. It had not been that long and already I was fucking up. Had I not felt the old familiar sensations of an inadequate diet kicking in then I probably would have carried on, convincing myself that what I was doing was acceptable. It isn’t. I am trying to put back in things that should never have gone but every time it feels like I’m doing something wrong. How can fulfilling someone’s basic needs for survival feel like a mistake and illicit so much guilt? It doesn’t help that my body image is absolutely horrendous. I’m still avoiding the mirror and every time I glance at it by accident, a wave sweeps through me screaming that I need to lessen myself again. When will I stop trying to find answers there? Yesterday was the first day in months, certainly since treatment that I had some photos taken of me. They were part of a press release for a project I have been working on and when they went up online they made me cry. I look like an elephant and I don’t know what to do with that feeling. If I change it then I’m getting stuck in the same cycle all over again, even though I know it’s not going to give me a different outcome. Yet learning how to live with the way my body is seems unachievable. I want to not care so badly.

I am so tired of my brain.

I hope your day is good to you.

Dear Darling Sanity

On Living with Mental Health

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